August 12, 2016
On occasion we have “family meetings” at school. Today will be one of those occasions as we bring the entire student body together to kick-off the new year. The key points of emphasis will be the following:
School theme: Our school theme for the year is a quote from St. John Paul II, Teach me, lead me, guide me to Jesus. I am struck by the simplicity and universality of these words. We are all on a faith journey, and we will never be “done.” It is an ongoing process. How do we know that? John Paul II spoke these words as our Pope! He was the leader of the Catholic Church and even he was on a personal journey to know Jesus more completely.
I believe there is another message in these words. We ask to be taught, led, and guided to Jesus, so that we may teach, lead, and guide others. We are both disciples and apostles. We learn, then teach. We study his Word in order to proclaim it.
Accountability: Simply put, personal accountability means knowing the right thing and doing the right thing. Often we fail, and do the wrong thing, and use the excuse, “I didn’t know.” Even if that were true, we know in our heart when we are not doing the right thing, don’t we?
In addition to personal accountability, being part of a family means holding others accountable as well. This is tougher; it takes courage. It means stepping in when we see someone being mistreated, or when we hear hurtful words spoken. As a loving member of the family, we must do what we can to put a stop to it.
Celebrating Mass together: We are blessed to be able to celebrate Mass together every week. Why do we do this? Most importantly, it is an integral part of our mission. It is why we exist – to help form students by bringing Jesus Christ into their lives on a regular basis.
Perhaps as students you don’t see that big picture perspective, and seek a more practical reason for celebrating Mass each week. While each of us is on his own personal faith journey, we all have one thing in common as Christians – a foundational desire in our heart for a relationship with Jesus.
Have you ever tried to maintain a relationship with someone without spending time with him or her? No phone calls, no Skype, no face-to-face time…nothing at all? This type of relationship will gradually die out.
When we celebrate Mass each week, we set aside dedicated time for Jesus. We send Him the message that a relationship with Him is important – so important that we stop everything we are doing and join as a community to be with Him.
Once together, our prayers gain strength. The power of communal prayer is incredible. We pray for ourselves and our own needs. However, we also pray for the needs of others in the school community, and – through the Prayers of the Faithful – the needs of the universal church.
And, of course, we experience the source and summit of our faith in the Eucharist. Christ is truly with us – not symbolically, but the Real Presence in our midst. To share this miracle weekly is such a gift!
Wherever you may be on your faith journey, open yourself up to this weekly gift. Embrace the time we take to be with Him.
Don’t tell your teachers, but it is the most important thing we do here at Bishop Chatard!